We sat down with Dawn, an ambitious MBA student from the Philippines, to discuss how she decided to apply for an MBA degree in the UK. She also shared her insights on how an MBA degree could help those seeking better career options. Dawn also gave some very practical advice for candidates applying to MBA programs abroad. To learn more, read the entire interview.
Tell us a little bit about yourself
My name is Fe Mae Down Chico. I am a Filipino. Before joining the Lancaster MBA program at Lancaster University, I was working in Manila, Dubai and Singapore. My previous work experience was mainly in financing and accounting. For the past four years I have been employed in the hospitality industry, where I worked as an HR. But to have better career options, I had to get an MBA.
Was it hard to get admitted?
It was difficult applying, because I was working full-time throughout. During weekends I had to write essays, and study for GMAT and IELTS. It was exhausting, and at times I would question whether or not it was a good idea to apply. But once I got into Lancaster, I saw the many possibilities my program and the university offered. And I was happy that I quit my job to pursue my dream.
How long did it take you to apply for an MBA?
It took me two years to prepare not just for Lancaster, but for an MBA in general. Partially because of my busy work schedule, and also because of the amount of research I had to put in.
Which part of the preparation process was most difficult for you?
The most difficult part for me was writing the essay. This is because English is not my native language. Besides, applying to different schools meant writing different essays. At one point I was writing essays every weekend.
Having Difficulties with Your Essay? Follow These 5 Tips to Improve Your MBA Essay Writing.
What tips would you give to MBA candidates regarding essays?
My advice is: don’t hesitate to ask help from friends who’ve completed the whole MBA preparation process, and have written essays. You can also ask for help online. There are many places where people do share tips and tricks. You do not necessarily need to enroll in an online writing course.
Did you prepare alone, with the help of a tutor, or online?
I did prepare alone, but with some help from friends, who shared with me GMAT and IELTS materials
Have you used PrepAdviser while preparing for your MBA program?
I was on your website all the time, reading preparation articles. There was plenty of material on how to write an essay, or what to do during an interview. PrepAdviser is really helpful for aspiring MBA applicants.
Do you have any advice for future candidates who want to apply for MBA programs?
As one admission manager once told me: “There are plenty of scholarships. People just don’t apply.” So, my first advice for those aiming to study for an MBA is to try to get a scholarship. Even if you have saved some money, having a scholarship will make your studies a lot less stressful. Also, it’ll make a very good impression on your future employers if your CV reveals that you have obtained a scholarship.
The second piece of advice is for those people looking for better career options, or wanting to switch professions. MBA is great for doing both. Many programs focus on specific practical and academic skills, and personal development in order to prepare you for your future career path.
My third and last piece of advice is to just go for it! If you’re planning on applying for MBA, then go ahead and do it. It’s a very expensive, time-consuming investment, but one that is worth the money. MBA teaches you not only the technicality of the business world; it also prepares you to be a future leader.
Tell us more about your MBA program.
The Lancaster MBA program is designed to give students a core foundation on how to become a future leader. The program offers more than just technical and academic background. It does mold a student’s personality, changing your perceptions, and how you make decisions. It teaches you resilience, open mindfulness and teamwork with people who have diverse personalities and backgrounds. The program also had a practical career training component, teaching us how to promote ourselves as both individuals and brands, and present ourselves during an interview, among other things.
Why did you choose Lancaster?
First and foremost, Lancaster is renowned worldwide. The university’s teaching staff is highly skilled and professional. Lastly, value for money is excellent. The one thing that really attracted me to Lancaster University is the Mindful Manager module, which emphasizes personal development and future leadership potential. This program is unique, and I couldn’t find anything similar in other business schools to which I applied. Another advantage of the program was that it’s a one-year course.
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